Browsing Tag

Punk

Rob Russell antagonised the airwaves by unleashing his alt-rock debut LP, What It All Meant

Rob Russell’s single ‘Carried‘, extracted from his debut LP ‘What It All Meant‘, is a striking genre synthesis that boldly defies the conventional boundaries of alternative rock. The track is an audacious blend, merging the defiant spirit of contemporary skate punk with the wistful echoes of 90s pop punk, all while embracing the gritty essence of grunge.

Russell’s approach to production is refreshingly unpolished, allowing the song’s inherent rawness to shine through. This choice pays off, as it accentuates the emotional gravity of the track, making ‘Carried’ a lesson in volition.

The single resonates with a sense of rugged honesty, a quality that is increasingly rare in today’s alt-rock landscape. Russell’s vocal delivery is both poignant and powerful, weaving through the dynamic soundscape with a balance of aggression and vulnerability. The instrumentation complements this perfectly, with guitar riffs that are both sharp and melodic, underpinned by a rhythm section that drives through the track with relentless energy.

‘Carried’ stands as a testament to Russell’s ability to channel the ethos of alt-rock’s past while forging his own path. We can’t wait to hear what follows.

Check out Rob Russell’s LP, What It All Meant, on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

NEET and Tidy wrapped their grungy pop-punk hooks around the afflictions of modernity in their LP, Is This Progress?

If any band can advocate for the LP format in an era when our attention spans are shorter than a boardwalk, it is NEET and Tidy with their aural corridor back to the alt-90s.

The sophomore album, Is This Progress? is an unflinchingly reflective exposition of the afflictions of modernity. The sludged-up hooks in Pillow Talk, which captures the bitter taste of a love turned sour, carry all the infectious rancour of Jawbreaker and NOFX, before Play Me launches a straight-up attack on how far the industry has fallen since the golden era of indie and alt-rock. Lyrics in the vein of, “your favourite pop star is the latest infection”, and “another NFT, another stupid dance”, paint a damning portrait of how twisted the industry has come through the contortions of capitalism and narcissism-driven content.

Another standout release within the LP is the evocative evolution of pop-punk into the chorally reverb-swathed remit of shoegaze. Snow (Okay) is a harbingering lament on how the music industry revolves around ableism when it isn’t bleeding vulnerable people dry. From start to finish, the sophomore release from NEET and Tidy asserts the Nashville-residing outfit as one of the most relatable and essential bands in 2024. If you’re always looking for artists with the ability to cut through the static of your ennui, you will find one when you delve into this seminal release.

Is This Progress will reach the airwaves on February 23rd; stream the LP on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Beast Killer lived up to their ferocious moniker in their feat of punk rock fervour, Comet

Beast Killer, the dynamic duo from Cleveland, Ohio, has once again proven their mettle in the alt-rock arena with their latest single from the album Dystopian Now/Dystopian Me. The recently released single, Comet, is a high-octane ride that seamlessly blends the rawness of punk with the edginess of hardcore, reminiscent of The Hives but with a distinctly Beast Killer twist.

Chris Wright (Vocals/Guitar) and Kris Monroe (Drums) have been collaborating for over a decade, and their chemistry is palpable in this release. The single bursts into life with an energy that is both frenetic and meticulously controlled, showcasing their instrumental precision. The hooks are bouncy yet laden with emotional depth, compelling listeners to engage with every beat.

Beast Killer lives up to their name in Comet by delivering a track that is ferocious in its execution. They pay homage to the early epochs of punk rock while simultaneously steering the genre towards an exciting future. The track transports listeners through a spectrum of emotions, from the ominous terror of space to a serene acceptance, mirroring the thematic journey of their album. The duo’s live performances are known to be explosive and commanding, and this energy is captured perfectly in this recording.

Comet is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The paragons of post-hardcore, Heartbent, gave emo nostalgists more than they bargained for with their seminal hit, House of Mirrors

Emo nostalgists will be in for more than they’ve bargained for when they delve into the third EP, House of Mirrors, from the heretics of post-hardcore, Heartbent. After a melodic pop-punk prelude, the title single lives up to the band’s stake to the claim of being one of the most stylistically unique outfits on the post-hardcore scene.

From start to finish, House of Mirrors is a lesson in hook-rife volition. The pop-punk hooks are balanced between the installations of guttural furore, giving the hit an edge of dualistic Jekyll and Hyde vehemence. With hints of Gallows between the sticky-sweet increments of Rise Against-reminiscent energy, Heartbent found never-before-trodden intersections of hardcore and blazed right through them while bringing House of Mirrors to visceral life.

The way Elle Saulsbury’s backing vox temper Alex Folmer’s scathingly magnetic vocal delivery and the instrumentals thrive on the unpredictability within the progressions proves that Heartbent knows exactly how to tap into their uniquely synchronous dynamism that is taking the East Coast by storm.

The House of Mirrors EP hit the airwaves on January 12th. Stream the fervidly hooked 4-track release on Spotify now.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

ATR unleashed a gritty punk rock anthem of disillusionment with their latest single, Nothing Left to Say, ft Kellii Scott

ATR’s latest single, Nothing Left to Say, featuring the formidable Kellii Scott on skins, is a visceral journey into the underbelly of grungy punk rock. This raw, unfiltered expression of disappointment and betrayal, wrapped in a rancorous alt-90s aesthetic is as cathartic as it is evocatively ensnaring.

The song’s energetic guitar licks are reminiscent of Green Day’s as a contrast to the production and attitude, underpinned by the cutting, gritty edge of Leftover Crack.  It’s a powerful outpour of rage directed at the kind of people we all have the displeasure of knowing. The ones who turn away when you need them most and leave you to contend with the betrayal confounding the circumstances which compelled you to seek comfort within them. It’s a tale as old as time, yet one that makes us feel deeply alone when it is being told – ATR tore through the misconception that we are isolated in this alienation.

ATR, led by frontman Jesse, who recently triumphed over Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, channels this newfound lease on life into their music. The band’s transition to a new studio space has injected a fresh wave of inspiration and motivation, evident in the quality and intensity of Nothing Left to Say, which is augmented by Kellii Scott’s rhythmic furore to enhance the mercilessness in the tone.

Nothing Left to Say will rile up the airwaves on January 5th. Stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

igor fused rhythmic ferocity and tender vulnerability in his alt-rock hit, My Own Way

Self-reservation cascaded away when igor stridently proclaimed, “The rumors are true – I just went insane”, in the opening lyric of his latest strident and evocatively raw single, My Own Way.

If people still held their lighters in the air, there are few better calls for an inferno of flame than this reclamation of the 00s alt-rock sound. After a short and sweet prelude, which could easily have given way to a Springsteen anthem, pop-punk signatures sink their teeth into the anthemic production that takes you on a cataclysmic ride through a confessional vignette of how much we give away to meet the expectations of someone that was inching away from us the entire time.

With guitar hooks as viscerally sharp as My Chemical Romance’s under igor’s engrossingly distinctive vocal lines, which refuse to forego authenticity for assimilation, My Own Way is a testament to the Ukraine-born, Russia-raised, NY-residing singer-songwriter and his determination to wear his heart on his sleeve.

While earworms that delve deep into scarred psyches to expose the commonalities of agony are a rarity, igor achieved all of that and more in the symbiosis of rhythmic ferocity and tender vulnerability in My Own Way.

My Own Way was officially released on December 1st; stream it on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Fox 2 warped the lineage of rock n roll to define its future with their debut LP, Sidewinder

Sidewinder by Fox 2

Fox 2’s debut LP, Sidewinder, is a seismic shift in the rock landscape, a thrilling fusion of reverence and revolution. From the streets of Portland, Oregon, this dynamic duo – ex-fighter pilot Paul Shamy and drumming maestro Jason Van Abrams – have unleashed a debut that doesn’t just walk the tightrope between homage and innovation; it riffs right across it.

Imagine the raw, gritty essence of grunge, the soulful depth of blues, and the rebellious spirit of punk, all colliding in a supernova of sound. That’s Sidewinder. Each track is a masterstroke of musical alchemy, where classic rock sensibilities are not just revisited but reinvented. The album is a kaleidoscope of eras and styles, yet it remains unmistakably Fox 2.

Shamy’s vocals are a revelation. He’s a powerhouse of emotion that can whisper in one breath and roar in the next. His guitar riffs are incendiary, igniting each track with a white-hot intensity. And then there’s Van Abrams, a rhythmic juggernaut whose drumming is both a foundation and a force of nature, driving the music forward with unstoppable momentum.

From the haunting melodies of The Grey to the frenetic energy of Phila, each song is a journey in itself. But it’s in tracks like Fly where Fox 2’s genius truly shines, blending bluesy undertones with garage rock grit to create something entirely new yet timelessly familiar.

Following the release of Sidewinder, the outfit is expanding their sound by strapping in bassist Pierce Guderskiand and is set to release swathes of hits in Summer 2024. Ensure Fox 2 is on your flight radar for the drop.

Stream and download Sidewinder on Bandcamp and Spotify. Follow Fox 2 on Instagram to stay up to date with their latest releases.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Torch the Hive defined the future of punk with ‘deku’

Taken from the brand-new EP, chemical thoughts, which mainlined a potent shot of punk rock adrenaline into the airwaves, the latest standout single, deku, from Torch the Hive reaffirms the sonic powerhouse’s position at the forefront of the genre.

The track is a masterful blend of intensity and technique, featuring an indie rock prelude and a bass line that wouldn’t be out of place in a Queens of the Stone Age record—heavy, relentless, and undeniably catchy. This foundation sets the stage for the song’s explosive dynamics, with tension-filled, augmented verses that build into anthemic heights, ensuring that when the crescendos hit in the choruses, it’s nothing short of cathartic.

Torch the Hive, consisting of the formidable trio Mike Fruel, Tyler Sanders, and Kevin Amaro, has proven with this new EP that they’re not content to rest within the confines of traditional pop punk. Instead, they’ve taken a page from the playbook of punk luminaries such as Rocket From the Crypt and Social Distortion and echoed the introspective angst of Bad Religion and the defiant energy of Pennywise. Yet, Torch the Hive bend these influences to their will, creating something fresh and fiercely their own.

Since their formation in 2017 in Chicago, Illinois, Torch the Hive has consistently broken the mould, surpassing what fans and critics expect from aural antagonists. Whether selling out shows across the Midwest region or embarking on national tours, the band’s reputation for delivering an uncompromising punk rock experience is well-earned. deku is a continuation of this ethos, a musical juggernaut that cements Torch the Hive’s status as a band that not only understands the heritage of punk but is also determined to define its future.

Watch the official music video for deku on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Intangible Ethos of Punk Why Its Subjective Ambiguity Makes It Almost Impossible to Define

With society becoming increasingly polarised and partisan with their ideals, the ambiguity and subjectivity of the punk ethos continue to be as amplified and weaponised as it was when the sonic strain of rebellion saw its inception when Bad Brains and Fugazi had to take back their scene from white supremacists.

Asking the definition of punk will always elicit a wide range of answers, typically subjective and based on personal beliefs. Much like asking someone their take on the meaning of life, asking for a definition of punk leads to diverse perspectives and opinions. The differentiations in opinion can naturally lead to points of contention.

The Ambiguity and Subjectivity of the Punk Ethos

While some may see leftist bands, including politically vocal bands such as Crass and Leftover Crack as punk, others enforce the insinuation that punk should be neither left nor right-wing – it should be entirely anti-establishment. Yet, punk artists have always fallen on either side of the spectrum. There has never been a shortage of conservative punks; Johnny Ramone and Bobby Steele (Misfits) being amongst the most prominent, with the likes of Skrewdriver falling on the more extreme end of the right-wing spectrum.

Leftover Crack at The Underworld, London, 13 August 2009 | Rebeladelica

The existence of Christian punk bands, such as MxPx is also a baffling paradox. Aurally, they are as ‘punk’ as Green Day and Blink-182, but does their piousness preclude a punk attitude? Well, if you consider the punk ethos as one that goes against conformity and authoritarianism and consider that religiosity is one of the greatest examples of authoritarianism, given the submission to authority and conventionality, then you would have to argue that it does.

However, if you regard the ambiguity and subjectivity of the punk ethos, not as a flaw, but as a fundamental characteristic that allows punk to remain an evolving cultural driving force, you can see why anything can and does fly under the banner of punk. The differentiation in meaning, for artists and fans alike, is a phenomenon rooted in the origins of punk. Punk embraces individuality and resists strict definitions. It has done so since its mid-1970s inception which saw the movement erupt as a visceral reaction against corporate mass culture.

The Origin of Punk

Ramones, the Sex Pistols, and The Clash, with their raw sound and defiant attitude, became the embodiment of the punk movement in the mid-70s as a means to drown out the bloated-with-capitalism timbres of Rock n Roll. It was always more than a genre. It was (and still is) permission for self-expression, a celebration of DIY ethics, and an antagonistic force against authority and social normativity.

The DIY aspect of punk further contributes to its subjective nature. Punk has always encouraged grassroots involvement, from creating zines and organising gigs to forming bands and recording music independently. This DIY spirit means that punk is not just consumed but actively created by its participants, leading to a diverse range of expressions and interpretations. What punk means to a fanzine creator in London can be vastly different from what it means to a garage band in New York or a political activist in Berlin.

What was punk – and why did it scare people so much? | National Geographic

Moreover, the punk ethos is marked by a resistance to being pigeonholed or defined by external forces. This resistance is a reaction against the commercialisation and co-optation of music and culture. Punk’s disdain for the mainstream has led to a fluid and evolving identity, one that resists easy categorisation. This fluidity means that punk can be a moving target, always adapting and changing in response to the cultural and political climate. This is efficaciously encapsulated by The Virginmarys with their track, You’re a Killer, which fervently protests the age of division and disinformation with the scathed lines that will always strike a chord:

“Information, in formation
An idiot’s guide to dividing the nation
Grooming the youth to the point of sedation
Where hearing the truth gives a strange sensation
What you see’s not what it seems
The UK’s sleeping sweet American dreams
Democracy is a word shot from the mouth
Of a killer”

The subjectivity of punk is also reflected in its regional variations. Punk in the UK, with bands like the Sex Pistols and The Clash, often had a more overt political edge, reflecting the social and economic turmoil of 1970s Britain. In contrast, American punk, epitomised by bands like the Ramones and Black Flag, often had a more nihilistic and individualistic bent iconography attached to them, which is now increasingly perpetuated in contemporary UK punk scenes.

The Weaponisation of Punk

Just as people fought back against The National Front attempting to co-opt the punk movement when they skewed the meaning of the lyrical contexts within tracks from The Clash and Sex Pistols, and Henry Rollins and Ian Mackaye refused to be passive in their resistance when the frenetic nature of American hardcore attracted Neo-Nazis like moths to a flame, it’s crucial that no form of contemporary xenophobia gets to fly under the guise of punk.

One of the key reasons for the ambiguity and subjectivity of the punk ethos is its foundational principle of individualism. Punk encourages people to think for themselves, to question the status quo, and to express their unique perspectives and identities. This ethos naturally leads to a wide range of interpretations and expressions. For some, punk is primarily about the music and the energy of live performances. For others, it’s a political statement, a way to challenge societal injustices and speak for the marginalised. And for many, it’s a fashion statement, a way to visually express their rebellion against mainstream norms.

So, given that punk is a means of individualistic empowerment which gives people the freedom to challenge social constructs and embrace their autonomy, it is nothing short of fucked up that the Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) movement is attempting to infiltrate punk in reaction to people refusing to play along with gender roles anymore, especially if those assigned at birth gender roles are completely at odds with innate identity.

It may require one brain cell too many for people to wrap their heads around the fact that gender is shaped by societal norms and expectations rather than being solely determined by biological or physical differences, but the consequence of that cannot and should not be the demonisation of trans, non-binary, and queer people. Of course, TERFs and their army of gender-critical sheep can’t come right out and say why they feel threatened by trans and non-binary people. They have to convince themselves that there is an existential threat to women and children to feign some form of valour.

On the other hand, it’s entirely possible that they don’t even have the cognitive capacity to realise that their aversion to people who don’t marry themselves to the conformity of gender roles boils down to a fear that their own safety blanket of conformity will be torn away. Perhaps they’ve all got a bad case of gender role Stockholm syndrome.

People who claim to be punk but aren't, TERF edition. : r/punk
Where is the clause in the punk ethos to declare that you can’t embrace your identity if that means you are rejecting arbitrary gender roles and living your life whilst proving that gender is not a fixed or innate attribute but rather a fluid identity shaped by social and cultural context?! I certainly don’t see one.

Don’t believe the “TERF is the new punk” hype. No matter how many garish t-shirts are pressed by the biggest victim-mentality grifter who cries to the Daily Mail and GB News that she’s been cancelled by the music industry for airing her dimly dogmatic views. Just like the evil protagonist in her fellow TERF’s book and film franchise, she isn’t to be named, because every bit of publicity is fuel for her self-piteous fire.

In Conclusion

The ambiguity and subjectivity of the punk ethos are central to its enduring appeal and relevance. Punk is not a monolith but a mosaic, made up of diverse voices and perspectives. This diversity allows punk to continually reinvent itself and remain relevant to new generations of artists and fans. Whether as a musical genre, a political statement, or a lifestyle, punk remains a powerful symbol of rebellion, individuality, and self-expression. However, that doesn’t mean that harmful tropes pushed via the righteousness of punk should go unchallenged. Punk isn’t a free pass to prejudice.

Article by Amelia Vandergast

Enter Luxifer’s dark and distorted evocation with ‘Always Remembered’

Luxifer used their latest EP, Hook, Line, and Sinker, to reel fans of dark and twisted experimentalism in with exactly what it says on the tin. Known for their explosive on-stage rock n roll antics, the internationally diversified four-piece injected plenty of that captivating visceralism into the sludgy, doomy melodicism which pulsates through the standout single on the EP, Always Remembered.

With instrumentals that pull you into the undercurrent of their alchemy with every progression in the same vein as Deftones fused with a magnetically devil-may-care demeanour which matches the arresting intensity of Rammstein, Luxifer effortlessly succeeded in asserting their originality while ensuring that their distinction levels with the commercial appeal. It’s not rock n roll as you know it; it’s a transgression that stands as a testament to the ingenuity of the dynamic outfit, which has exactly what it takes to reach higher ground in the rock and metal charts if they keep delivering tracks as atmospherically cultivated as Always Remembered.

Always Remembered is available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast